Now that we are parents I have been very eager to start creating our “traditions”. Michael comes from a traditional family with lots of traditions but I didn’t….unless you count the traditional drunk holiday brawl or the annual someone cries at Thanksgiving because all the passive aggressive snide comments finally breaks them down. I’m certainly not looking to re-create those.
However when it comes to celebrating the Christmas season we’ve found plenty of ways to start injecting our own traditions. Our goal was to keep the holidays Christ-centered, meaningful and simple and avoid the mad dash crazy materialistic frenzy which leaves so many people feeling void and unfulfilled. One way we started was to forgo Santa and all that he entails. Sometimes it can be hard like when you see the kids at the mall in line for their pictures with the man in red but mostly it frees us up to take the focus off of “naughty and nice” and “loot lists”. Yes, we give gifts but we want that to be a small part of the celebration not the main event. So like last year Reagan will receive 3 gifts on Christmas which is symbolic of the gifts the Magi brought and she will receive a stocking. Last year this wasn’t difficult since she was still in the “I’d rather play with the box” phase but now that she is two and has definite interests and likes it is harder to limit myself. The cutest thing in the world is hearing her say “Mommy, I like babies”. She certainly does and we are smack dab in the mist of the dolly phase. Lots of people are asking her what she wants for Christmas. When she isn’t playing shy she will say things like shoes (this chick LOVES shoes) babies, pet shops and books. The other day I heard her say a kitty cat. So narrowing it down to 3 things when the variety and selection is so vast was challenging. Probably not as challenging as it could be for some families since we steer away from battery operated, character or plastic (although some has creeped in, I’m looking at you multiplying Pet Shops). One tradition from my childhood I will start with Reagan is opening on present on Christmas Eve. Although it will always be new pajamas.
Another tradition we started this year is celebrating Advent. There are many ways to celebrate Advent from doing it daily to something that is done on Sunday. But basically you light a candle(s) and read scripture about the birth of the Savior. So far we have found it an amazing and refreshing way to keep our thoughts focused on God’s precious gift of a Savior. We light our candles and read our scriptures each day but on Sunday we have a longer reading. We also spend time praying, singing and either having a yummy treat or doing a coloring sheet. Reagan also received a small gift from our Count Down to Christmas calendar each evening but her favorite part is blowing out the fire.
Here is our Advent calendar. A total DIY project made of things I had on hand.
The Christmas Countdown picture was made with a 12×12 canvas and scrapbook supplies I’ve had for years. I cut the letters with my handy dandy Cricut. I used a small curtain rod I’ve had since we moved here to string all the gifts up. They are each wrapped and numbered. There is a small dolly set for Sundays and a couple of books I found on the cheap but the rest is pretty much things scored from the Target dollar spot like little socks, chapstick and stickers. Oh and peppermints since Reagan loves peppermints. Nothing too exciting unless you are a toddler girl.
I’ve been trolling Pinterest for months looking for the perfect Advent calendar. In the end I ran out of time and had to wing it…turns out it is perfect for us!
Some of our other new holiday traditions include our church Christmas program, the holiday programs at the community school, visiting our neighbors and friends with treats and celebrating with our toddler friends with an upcoming cookie decorating party. I’ll let you know how that one turns out.